‘We cracked it, just’

 

Paul Nicholls, the Somerset trainer, has broken his own 15-year-record for prize-money accumulated by a trainer in a jumps season in Britain, collecting a total of £3,646,585. He achieved the feat with a third and fourth in the final race of the campaign, beating the record set in the 2007-08 season when Kauto Star, Denman and Master Minded were among the flagbearers. Nicholls was crowned champion trainer for the 14th time at Sandown on Saturday, and he praised a team effort for the success.

Despite disappointing results in some races, the day improved as Knappers Hill won the bet365 Select Hurdle, scooping £45,560. In the last race of the season, Samarrive and Iceo finished third and fourth, earning £4,186 and £2,093, respectively, and breaking the record by just £74. The £74 accounts for around 0.002 percent of the prize-money earned in the season. Nicholls had said breaking the record was a target after landing two winners at this season’s Cheltenham Festival.

He praised a team effort for the success and said: “We just had one of those days today, but we just cracked it. It wasn’t a massively important thing, but it’s nice to do it having got this far. It’s a little thing all the team have strived for it and they can all be proud of.

“We had a nice winner and some were a bit disappointing, but at this time of year that always happens. Apart from Saturday, they’ve been in cracking form all season. It’s been brilliant and hopefully in October we can go forward again.

“I’m quite pleased too because it reflects quite well on British racing. We get a bit of stick about our prize-money but our jumpers have got nearly £3.7 million this season, which shows it’s not that bad. I’ve got some wonderful owners who really love the sport and are involved because it really is a great sport.”

Bravemansgame, the King George winner and Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up, was the highest-earning horse for Nicholls in Britain this season, earning £332,129. Pic D’Orhy, Knappers Hill, Greaneteen, Stage Star, Frodon and Hitman also achieved six-figure earnings. The yard sent out 161 winners, the third-highest for a season, and Nicholls also pointed to a big campaign for Harry Cobden as another highlight. The stable jockey was highly praised for his efforts on Nicholls’ Cheltenham Festival winners Stage Star and Stay Away Fay in March.

Cobden was stood down on Saturday after falling on Enrilo in the bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase. Despite the disappointment, Nicholls hailed the team effort “to be proud of.” The record-breaking achievement reflects the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the yard, and Nicholls’ praise is a testament to their contributions.

Nicholls added: “It’s a shame Harry never rode his winner because he’s been a revelation this season. We missed him for a few races just as Manchester City would losing [Erling] Haaland for a few games. He knows the horses and rides them well.

“We’ve got a great team headed up by Clifford [Baker, head lad] and I’m proud of everybody. It’s been a cracking season, so bring on the next one.”

 

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